TIME, TALENT AND TREASURE
Time is a very precious gift. Each of us have been given enough time to accomplish God's purpose for us on this planet. Some of us feel we don’t have enough time for all the things we want to do. Everyone is given the same amount of time: 24 hours each day, 168 hours each week. The question is: How do we choose to use our time?
Time is our most valuable asset. However, without a proper perspective, we will spend it foolishly. A biblical perspective on time involves several things: (1) Life is brief and we cannot be presumptuous about the future (Jas. 4:14). (2) The eternal gives meaning to the temporal (Rom. 13:11; 2 Cor. 4:18). (3) Like other assets, our time is owned by God (Ps. 31:15). (4) We must be sensitive to opportunities so that we can make the most of them (Eccles. 8:5; Col. 4:5). (5) Our use of time will reflect our priorities (Matt. 6:19-21,34).
Just as it is wise to budget our financial resources (see Treasure), it is also wise to budget our use of time. Most time is wasted not in hours, but in minutes. If we do not regularly assess the way we spend our 168 hours per week, our schedules will get cluttered with activities that may be good, but not the best. How much quality time do we spend with the Lord, with our spouse, with our children, and with our non-Christian friends? God wants us to be faithful stewards, not squanderers, of the time He has given us.
All of us have been blessed with various talents, whether we are aware of it or not, or whether we have developed our talents or not. Of course, it is usually not possible to develop all of our talents. Ideally, we can and should develop some of them and use them wisely to bless the Parish we belong to.
We have seen that stewardship in the Scriptures always relates to the management of something that does not belong to us but to someone else. Even our talents and special abilities belong to God. We own nothing that was not first given to us: "And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" (1 Cor. 4:7). God has entrusted us with aptitudes and abilities and as good stewards, we must use them for His glory and not our own.
Another aspect of good stewardship is that we learn to concentrate on the things we can do well and not worry about the things we cannot do. Our calling is to be trustworthy with what we have been given and not to envy or covet another person's abilities or ministry. Regardless of what we have been given, every stewardship is tested by the same standard: faithfulness. It is not the size of our ministry that counts but what we do with what we have been entrusted.
While the Bible has about 500 verses on prayer and fewer than 500 verses on faith, there are over 2,300 biblical verses that deal with money and possessions. Without apology, our Lord Jesus said more about money than He did about any other subject, including Heaven and Hell put together. Over 10 percent of the New Testament relates directly to financial matters. Why is there such an emphasis?
Perhaps because God knows our propensity to misuse money or allow it to distract us from keeping our eyes on Him. In addition to our resources of time and talent, we have been entrusted with the stewardship of various treasures including our bodies.
When it comes to governing our financial affairs, we must choose between two radically different approaches: the values of our society or the values of the Bible. The first alternative tells us to find happiness and peace through money; the second tells us to find the desire of our hearts in the Lord and to be content with what He gives us.
Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for Divine Love?